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Flight-Delayed's travel tip #15: Top 5 shopping cities in Europe

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Having dinners at a cosy restaurant, drinking wine on a terrace and going shopping are nice ways to explore a new place and getting to know the heart of the city. We have listed the top five shopping cities, based on the findings of The Economist and Global Blue, who took a closer look at different towns by testing them on 38 different criteria such as price and infrastructure.

Top shopping city in Europe: London

London is a true shopping paradise for both men and women. The city has an unprecedented number of shops, department stores and well-known brands; there is truly something for everyone. If you like spoiling yourself with luxury brands, you will feel right at home, but the bargain hunters need not worry: they can visit the high street stores.

Harrods is probably the most famous department store in London and maybe even in the world. It is a versatile warehouse with an extensive offer of goods: Here you can find just about anything, for example a spa for pets. Harrods' motto is 'Omnibus Ubique': everything for everyone.

Another well-known department store in London is Selfridges & Co. This department store was named Best Department Store in the world in 2010. It is located on the busiest shopping street in Europe, Oxford Street. Selfridges & Co offers an in-store experience with a champagne bar, personal shopping advice and even psychic consultations!

Best shopping cities in Europe #2: Madrid

This vibrant city is known for its beautiful buildings, parks and of course the wide range of shops. Madrid boasts some great shopping streets with famous stores including Zara and Mango. The main shopping area is Madrid's Gran Via, the name says it all. What is useful to know is that Zara and Mango are Spanish companies so the prices in Spain are much lower than those in UK stores.

Another well-known shopping street is the Preciados. This is near the Gran Via and a tip for shopaholics. Most of the stores here are Spanish boutiques, with a lot of charm and variety. This street is off-limits for cars, which allows for a more relaxed shopping experience.

Best shopping cities in Europe #3: Barcelona

Barcelona is another top place to shop in Europe. Many Zara and Mango's can of course be found here too, but also many unique Spanish boutiques, designer stores and other specialty stores. La Rambla is a famous tourist street in Barcelona, which you cannot skip. This is a mile-long street with many cafés, restaurants and street musicians.

If you would prefer to experience small and unique boutiques and shops you must visit the neighbourhoods Ravel and Borne. Here you'll find the best and most exclusive items and goods. If you're looking for department stores, expensive brands and the big chains, you may want to visit Eixample district. If you want to find a nice mix of Spanish boutiques and famous fashion brands like Zara and Mango, the Portal de L'Angle is the way to go.

Best shopping cities in Europe #4: Paris

Everyone knows that Paris is the city of fashion. It is a city with many upscale shops and large department stores. The more expensive brands like Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton show and sell their exclusive fashion pieces here, but budget shoppers can of course also come in for a look. If you have a smaller budget, the Marais district may be the place for you.

A shop worth mentioning in the Marais district is the Kilo Shop, where you (the name says it all) pay for your purchased by the kilo. How does this work? You select the items you want to purchase, which are then weighed at the counter, and you pay based of the number of kilos. This can be a great way of getting a bargain!

Best shopping cities in Europe #5: Rome

Italy is the land of allure and fashion. The capital of Italy is an ideal city for shopping. Whether you want to pay for €15,000 an outfit or want to look for a little less expensive but still hip outfit; in Rome, everything is possible.

In this city you will find large markets, an outlet centre, but also huge shopping centres. Tip: go shopping early if you want to look around quietly. Italians love shopping but most of them go in the afternoon, so the mornings will be more quiet. We would of course also recommend visiting local bars and restaurants to get a real taste of Italy. So take plenty of stops in between shopping, because when in should NOT miss out on the delicious food!

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